Are most drowsy driving accidents in DuPage County caused by college students who do not recognize the harms associated with fatigued driving? According to a recent report from Reuters, a new study suggests that while driving drowsy is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, college students may see it as unavoidable and not a legal risk.
Recently, we discussed a new AAA study that shows drowsy driving crashes might happen even more frequently than researchers and safety advocates previously believed. Now, according to this study, undergraduate students potentially should be targeted for education surrounding drowsy driving motor vehicle accident risks.
Undergraduate Students May Be Riskier Drivers
When we think about particular age groups at risk of serious car crashes, we often think of teen drivers who are very inexperienced behind the wheel. However, as the recent study suggests, college-aged drivers may actually pose a greater risk for fatigued driving collisions than those in other age groups. The lead author of the study, Dr. Kenneth Beck, emphasizes that driving while drowsy is becoming frequently more recognized as "a source of crashes and deaths on highways.” Dr. Beck is a Professor of Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
In order to assess the risks of drowsy driving among undergraduates, Beck and his colleagues brought together four different focus groups of 26 undergraduate students. In each of these focus groups, the researchers asked questions about the young adults’ driving habits, their perceptions about whether certain behaviors were risky and to what extent—i.e. using a cell phone behind the wheel, driving after drinking alcohol, etc.—and how those college students believe drowsy driving crash risks could be reduced.
Need to Recognize the Seriousness of Drowsy Driving and Associated Crash Risks
Most undergraduate drivers who were surveyed considered themselves to be safe drivers, especially with passengers in the car. However, Beck and the other researchers also learned that a majority of undergraduate students consider driving while drowsy to be less risky from a legal perspective than driving while drunk or driving while under the influence of drugs or medications. Additionally, undergraduates were not aware of laws against drowsy driving and questioned the enforceable nature of these laws.
The undergraduate students who participated in the study made clear that, on the whole, they did not believe drowsy driving was a serious offense or that laws against it could be enforced. Moreover, a majority of the students indicated that they had experienced drowsy driving incidents—crashes or near-misses—while driving alone and in the early morning or late at night. In most cases, the college students noted that they attempted to wake themselves up by rolling down the window for fresh air, turning up the radio, talking or singing along with the radio, or chewing gum.
Seek Advice From a DuPage County Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a collision caused by a drowsy driver, a skilled DuPage County motor vehicle accident attorney can assist with your claim. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC for more information about the services we provide in Lombard and throughout DuPage County.
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